Cali’s At It Again

Paperbacks are dead, is what they said. Ebooks are taking over, that’s what they told us. I remember exchanging letters, with Fwy Rick, back in 2009. Trying to convince him that I was onto something hot, with a bookstore/retail outlet idea I called Raw Truth Distribution. At the time, bookstores were closing like crazy, and, the entire industry was in an uproar about a coming doomsday device called an ebook, which was set to detonate and crumble the entire publishing game. But, they forgot about the West Coast. They forgot that hood books are read by hood folks (most times without an eReader) and they forgot about the long-lasting shelf life of urban lit., in an industry where 10-15 yr throwbacks like True to The Game, the Dutch series and the Cartel series, to name a few, still have people checking for them. An industry where people take pride in their collection of books and like to hold on to them.

Like hip hop music in the 1980’s, hip hop lit also found its initial footing on the Eastern shore. The South came alive, dumping books out of beauty salons, and the industry, as a whole, gathered steam, gaining distribution through the likes of Carl Weber and other powerful industry insiders. But, what about the West? Who’s moving books on the streets of the West? Who’s got the West Coast distribution on lock? Again, we search for names.

On the East coast, it’s common to find young urban authors/publishers out selling on the corners or opening their own bookstores, but, you think of the West and you hear crickets. Well, I’m warning you now: You better keep listening, for, it is most definitely the quiet just before the storm.
calikim
Cali Kim is one of the hardest working boss chicks in the West Coast book game. More than just talk, this Queen peeped the need then set out to fill it, opening her store right in the heart of (gun smoke) Central Los Angeles. Having just gotten into the retail game, she is leading the charge and doing amazing business, selling books as quick as she can get them, reminiscent of the East Coast book game some 10 years ago.

Not to be ignored, California has long had independent stores where urban books are sold, such as Smiley’s Bookstore in Carson Ca., Zahara’s Books and Things in Inglewood Ca. and Milligan Books in L.A. Ca., But the energy and vibe of those spots are not as you’d see on the Eastern shore. For example, I can tell you, first hand, as a guy who’s personally written letters reaching out to try and get my books carried in those very stores, no one, absolutely nada, ever even replied. However, through the help of a friend, I did eventually get my book placed in Zahara’s. But, that’s just it, these stores are mostly ran by older women who are not in tune with, nor compassionate towards, the struggles of the average independent urban author who’s just dumping books “out of the trunk” and has no ready “distributor”. Thus, to them, my cries meant nil. Enter the likes of Cali Kim.

Cali Kim (author of Devil in A Red Dress by DaReal Bo$$Lady) is an independent urban author who’s chased the dream and drummed the sound of the urban author’s struggle. And, having done so without distribution, she readily understands the struggle, so, she openned her doors and openned her heart and the readers have responded.

By being an author herself, Cali Kim knew how to tap into the audience she intended to serve. Instead of a reader going out to some quiet little store being ran by some sweet little old granny, with gospel music softly playing in the background, now, readers could go out and experience the urban culture, get ahold of independently released titles (which might not be in many stores) and meet an author face to face all at the same time. Starting to sound like the East Coast a bit? Oh, and, by the way, this Queen does have my book on her shelf. How awesome is that? Thanks, Bo$$ Lady!

Well, enough of that. Let me step back, and turn the light where it’s meant to shine. In case you haven’t heard or don’t already know, here’s the go-getting, beautiful and intelligent Bo$$Lady Kim herself.

 

Godfather: How long have you been writing?

Kim: . I’ve been writing since I was about 9 years old.

Godfather: Who/what first inspired you to write?

Kim: Life’s experiences is what inspired me to write.

Godfather: What books have you written and what were they about?

Kim: The first book that I wrote is called “Devil in a Red Dress. ” It’s about jealousy, greed and the type of things that go down behind the scenes of the music industry.

Godfather: What’s the name of your store and where is it located?

Kim: The name of my store is The Beauty Bar & Bookstore. It’s located in South Central Los Angeles, inside of the Slauson Swapmall.

Godfather: I notice that you sell more than just books, talk about that?

Kim: Yes. I sell 100% Virgin Hair, Make-up, Essential Hair Care Products, Books and so much more.
Wes: What made you open a book store?

Kim: Well, I’ve been selling books out of the trunk of my car since 2007. So, I always knew that if I had a location, I would do good.
Wes: How is business? On average, how many books do you sell per day?

Kim: Considering the fact that my business, is fairly new, I can’t complain. Business goes up and down, so it’s hard to say. But all I know is that I’m blessed.

Godfather With ebooks going for pennies on the dollar, how are readers responding to the average $15.00 price of a paperback?

Kim: We get a lot of people, all of the time, who say they have a reading device, but prefer to flip through the pages of a paperback. And, yes, we have some who don’t buy, because they say they prefer to pay the low for a download. So, I try to be as reasonable as possible to entice the readers to support.

Godfather: Do you plan to expand or open any other locations?

Kim: Most definitely. It’s already in the making.
Godfather: What’s your take on the pulse of book distribution on the West Coast?

Kim: I believe that a lot of authors from the West Coast prefer to sell ebooks, and aren’t really interested in distribution outside of Amazon & Barnes & Nobel. Maybe because it’s the easiest way out, but when you’re a born hustler and failures not an option, you have to be willing to go hard and expand your reach.

Godfather: Are a lot of your customers also Facebook friends or no?

Kim: No, not at all. A lot of my customers are those who I reach out to, by way of promoting.

Godfather: Are authors helping to promote, doing book signings, supplying you with enough books, etc? How would you say author support has been?

Kim: Well, let’s just say that I have more strangers sending me and dropping off books than those that I personally know.

Godfather: What are your biggest challenges?

Kim: I don’t really get much author support.

Godfaher: Has anyone in the industry stepped up to help guide you or lend support?

Kim: My biggest challenge is getting my people to see that support comes in many forms and fashions. You don’t necessarily have to spend money to support someone or their endeavors. Just spreading the word sometimes is more valuable than the money.

Godfather: Are you currently working on any other project? What’s next in the clip for Cali Kim?

Kim: Yes. I am currently working on the sequel to “Devil in a Red Dress”, which is called “The Fine Black Widow” along with a few other projects that I’m  working on.

Godfther: What’s your advice to new authors?

Kim: My advice to new authors is, just do your research. You can’t go wrong by doing your own research.

Godfather: What would be your advice to anyone looking to get into the retail side of the book business?

Kim: The more bookstores, the better for us all. Why do you think there are so many alcoholics around? It’s because there’s liquor stores on every corner in the hood. If we can get just as many bookstores as liquor stores on the block, that would be excellent. And last but not least, location is everything.

Godfather: How can people go about getting their books on your shelves?

Kim: All they have to do is contact us at the store or email us.

Godfather: How can you be reached?

Kim: The Beauty Bar & Bookstore, 1600 west Slauson Ave #B17, Los Angeles Ca 90047 phone: (323)753-3963    email: beautybarandbooks@gmail.com

 

“GODFATHER” Hunter is an incarcerated author from Los Angeles, Ca. He has  written several books covering a variety of genres, to include self-help/how-to/advisory, autobiography, poetry, urban romance, erotica and street lit. Godfather has even taught urban lit during his many years of incarceration. He makes an added effort to lace his writings with history, social-political consciousness and other such pearls of wisdom while penning  in a style which many have compared to the likes of James Patterson, John Grisham and Michael Connelly.

 

Hate On Me: Madame Noire’s Slander Of Dr. Umar Johnson…Failed

“You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle.”

 Shannon L. Alder

In my seventeen years of living, my marvelous parents have taught me lessons that aid in preparing me for the battle field that we call the adult world. However, one lesson that my Dad taught me so long ago has seemed to make itself apparent as I start on my journey to becoming a self-made man. As I was growing up my Dad would always tell me that you can’t make people like you. In your highs and lows, someone will always have something to say about you.

It’s amazing how the wisdom of our elders mean so much to us as life rolls on. As I was looking through my Facebook wall after a productive writing session on my forthcoming novella, my attention turned to a shared Madame Noire article on one of the great thinkers and scholars in our community today Dr. Umar Johnson. The online column post was entitled, Why It’s Not A Good Idea To Support An All-Black Boys Academy. I just shook my head. Of course somebody would try to spite Dr. Umar in his valiant efforts.

The website, which is most popular for black Hollywood news and propaganda pieces like this, went on to dismiss Dr. Umar because of his views on female sexual practices and homosexuality. Never mind the fact that the brother has a doctorate in clinical psychology and that he speaks from complete fact. I’ve listened to hours upon hours of his lectures in my free time and never once has he said anything misogynist or against the LBGT community. Speaking of Madame Noire playing the misogyny card, I’ve only heard of him speak highly of black women!

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You can tell the article was slander. Look at the highlighted sentence! They know it’s a brilliant idea!

Since Madame Noire wants to use comments that he made to get their point  across, let’s take a trip back in time to January of this year when Dr. Umar  was with Professor Griff speaking to a packed house at the Southwest Arts  Center in Atlanta. In part three of the video, Dr. Umar dove into one of the  crucial social sciences that he would teach at the FDMG Acadamy.

 

  “What else are we going to teach the children? We’re going to teach them  the science of the Black man and the Black woman. That means what? All  the little boys are going to have to study the black woman as a divinity. The  boys are going to have to study your menstrual cycle and why you have  one. Why is it twenty-eight days? And what is the relationship between the  womb of a woman and the twenty-eight day cycle of the moon?”

 As the crowd cheered in agreement with what he was saying, Dr. Umar  continued on, “The boys are going to have to understand the divinity of the  black woman. Why was she chosen as the first symbol of God ever used on  earth? Before the Muslims or Christians turned God into a he, God was a she!  The great divine mother, you have to teach that science!  By the time we’re  done, he won’t be able to disrespect you anymore Black woman! By the time  we’re done, your son will come home at six years old and say, ‘Momma, you  don’t need that hair anymore! Get rid of it! I demand that, as my mother,  that you be the Goddess God made you!

 

Yeah, I don’t hear any misogyny there! What’s Charing Ball’s problem with him? Is it the fact that Dr. Umar wants Black women to respect themselves? In the article the writer ( who I assume is a woman) said,

Or it is possible that you just like “freaky” sex, including role playing and S&M and that you just had an orgasm? But these ol’ Mistas-from-the-Color-Purple-acting dudes don’t want to know anything about making that kitten purr – they just want lay on a girl and do their business.

It’s funny that she wants to name call and throw insults at Dr. Umar when she didn’t do a thing to disprove what he said in any way. Mrs. Bell just mocked him. Madame Noire didn’t even slander his idea! That seems fishy to me…..

Dr. Umar Johnson is a standup guy. He’s a professional, unlike many of the other people in the so-called ‘conscious community’. He’s made enemies just by telling the truth and professing his undying love for African people worldwide. What’s the problem?

As I’ve studied business and the media, I’ve found out that any publicity is good publicity. While negativity is never good, at least your name is circulating around in a discussion. Just ask Solange! When I saw that Madame Noire put this article out, I thought this would put a damper in his efforts to get the school running. The legion of fans of the blog will start hurling insults about him on their social media page without truly doing research on him. From there, the first impression of Dr. Umar to folks that don’t know him would be negative.

Then I looked at the comment section on the website and their Facebook post. Folks were going in on Madame Noire. I only saw a handful of people that agreed with what the writer had to say! Seeing that sight, I let out a huge sigh and smiled. There was hope!

 

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A reader of the article decided to get familiar with Dr. Umar. Shout out to Senita! 🙂

Dr. Umar hasn’t even responded to the article. He’s to predetermined with the St. Paul’s auction to worry about any shade that’s thrown his way. The moral of my Dad’s lesson became apparent to me at that very moment. Since you can’t control what people say about you, ignore them and power through! Kill them with success! I’d like to thank Dr. Umar for giving me a real life example of this. Also, to Madame Noire and the other so called ‘black’ corporate websites, you’re not going to go against the movement for black positivity without getting checked. We’re not having it anymore!

 

The auction is about to start and we’ve now raised $100,000! Continue to keep donating! From a young brother, we desperately need this school. Donate at this link:

https://t.co/IYMvNwVDYF

 

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The cover to my novel, “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson”. It’s coming out in October. Also, My novella is set to come out some time in July.  Make sure you look out for me! You can read a preview on Wattpad now! http://www.wattpad.com/story/6314747-the-diary-of-aaliyah-anderson

 

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Was I right or wrong on this issue? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randall.barnes.501

 

 

 

Building A Brand

“Don’t EVER let your publishing company be bigger than your name. Rock with your team, but rock with yourself even more.”

 Treasure Blue, Greatest Publishing Advice For Authors Pt. 2

I must admit, I see the publishing industry as a competition. If you’re in my way, I’m like a lion that attacks when see’s somebody that comes on their turf. I want the best and only aim for the best! Am I wrong for thinking like this? Am I wrong for wanting to be at the top of my field and doing whatever is necessary to make that happen?

One thing that I see that hinders people from success is that they limit themselves. They put a ceiling on what theziglar-99y can accomplish. Why is that? Why is it that people shudder at the mere thought of hard work, blood, sweat and tears? That concept has always been foreign to me. When I say that I’m the black James Patterson, the next Michael Baisden or the literary Tyler Perry, it’s not out of premature arrogance or disrespect to the respective legacy’s that those men are building for themselves. It’s because that’s what I envision for myself in the not so distant future.

Here I am, a seventeen-year old young black man striving for more than music, sports or working for someone else’s multi-million,  Fortune 500 company and I’ve experienced major opposition in my quest. I never paid my critics or haters any mind as I navigated to my goal on being on top of the literary landscape. T.V., radio, feature films, big time business deals and endorsements are in my future and I refuse to let anyone hold me back.

My main struggle a year ago was how I was going to accomplish these feats. Here I was with the finished manuscript for The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson, a story that I knew would resonate with millions of young people around the world. I looked at other star teenagers doing great for themselves and wondered why that couldn’t be me. Now I’m here with a novella coming in the coming weeks, over thirty-thousand reads and universal love for The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad and an official release day with a nice, smooth cover to match! The craziest thing about it is that I haven’t even reached my zenith!

I always study stories that I find inspirational and interesting in its nature. One of those legendary stories is that of one of my literary role models James Patterson. He didn’t start off as the number one bestselling giant that he is today. Everything in life has a beginning and ending point. James Patterson started with his first novel The Thomas Berryman Number. It went on to sell ten thousand copies, not stellar numbers but at least it’s noteworthy for a first novel.

Patterson then signed on with the publishing house Little, Brown and released Along Came A Spider, the first novel in the extensive Alex Cross series. He pushed his publishing house to market books in the television space but they wouldn’t listen. They weren’t even traditionally a commercial fiction publisher in the first place. They were the go-to company for historical narratives and biographies. However, James Patterson set out to prove something to his publisher and the whole publishing industry  in  general.

Refusing to allow his publisher to determine his destiny, he produced his own commercial and  put his own money behind it. The folks over Little, Brown saw the commercial and Patterson’s  vision. They decided to help him with the costs for putting the commercials in New York,  Chicago and Washington. With that huge push, Along Came A Spider went on to get the  number two  spot on the New York Along Came A SpiderTimes best-seller list and become his most successful novel to  date with  five million copies in print around the world.

One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:13, which states, “I can do all things through  Christ who strengthens me.” I refuse to let anyone limit me in my quest because they aren’t the  ones that give me power. Money, love, affection, pleasure, opportunities and support maybe,  but not power and strength. God flows though each and every one of us. It’s up to us to unlock  our higher calling in our lives.

What stops me from being the black James Patterson? Last year, he brought home $200 million  for Hatchette Book Group and took home $80 million last year. The craziest thing about it is that  his most successful series, and one of the more prolific in literature, is about an authentically  black detective. Who said that stories with African-American characters don’t cross over and  resonate with a worldwide audience?

We all should make the declaration today that we won’t let anything stop us from achieving prosperity in our lives. Today, we’re deciding to leave the haters behind and to throw out every excuse we could possibly come up. We’re starting our tread to success by any means necessary!

 

The cover to my novel, “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson”. It’s coming out  in October. Also, My novella is set to come out some time in July.  Make sure you look out for me! You can read a preview on Wattpad now! http://www.wattpad.com/story/6314747-the-diary-of-aaliyah-anderson

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Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Was I right or wrong on this issue? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randall.barnes.501

 

Two Ways Black Media Can Step It’s Game Up

I do not expect the white media to create positive black male images.

 Huey P. Newton

In the black community today, we have a large amount of complaining people. Mind you, most of these folks are doing absolutely nothing to uplift the community, let alone make money for themselves independently. I won’t go as far as to say their agents because that would give them too much credit. Their just negative leeches and haters that want to tear down people that are actually doing something. The proverbial 2014 version of crabs in a barrel!

Like I’ve said numerous times, productive black media is slowly but surely being made.  As a journalist and author with two projects coming up, I consider myself a part of the  subsector of the community we choose to call black media. My critiques are only in  hope that we can improve on what we’re putting out to the public. At this rate, none of  us are competing with any of the white-owned media conglomerates. I’m talking to the  big shot executives at Bounce TV, OWN, Revolt TV and Aspire too!  Compared to  Viacom owned BET and Comcast owned TV One, they’re losing out as well.

We desperately need to step our games up in the media space, family! Why is Tariq  Nasheed’s The Eugenist and Hidden Colors series the only piece of independently  owned black media project that I can call off the top of the head that was worth  watching? Today, we’re going to have a compulsive discussion about the state of African-American produced media and what we need to do to make it better. Black media “mavens”, I need you to seriously take note!

 

1)   Produce Work Of Quality

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.

-Steve Jobs

One Saturday during Father’s Day a few years back, my family decided to go to the Macon Mall. Since an outdoor mall was just built in north Macon (the white, suburban side of town), the Macon Mall hadn’t been attracting customers like it used to. Many stores closed down and it was basically relegated to shoe stores, non-black owned but black culture influenced clothing stores and greasy fast food joints. Meanwhile, the outdoor mall had everything!

Even in its slump, the Macon Mall always attracts a crowd of people during holidays. So there we were, making our way through a maze of people to get to the exit. However, we managed to stop at a table set up in the middle of the mall where two college aged brothers, an extremely attractive brown-skinned sister and a man that looked as if he was in his thirties were selling DVDs. For their sakes, I’m not going to mention the name of the production.

They boasted about the fact that their film won at a film festival and it was a movie in the leer of Tyler Perry. My parents bought twologo_black_media copies in support of them and went on their way. A couple of months ago, I managed to watch the movie in it’s entirety. Well, I’d more so say struggled than managed! The movie was horrible to say the least!

The acting was dry, the background music took over the film, the lighting was wrong and the storyline was poorly written. I honestly felt like breaking the DVD in two and throwing the cover out the window like a Frisbee that won’t come back. What a waste of money!

Black filmmakers, entrepreneurs and other artists make sure that your project is of quality. The word quality is defined as “the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.” The community has no time for hustlers and get rich quick schemes. If you’re not planning to put out work of quality, I need you to have a seat! If you don’t believe enough in your project, why would I pay money to see it or read it?

You can’t rely on a list of big name actors to be in your production either. This is where a lot of these mainstream black films fail. I went to see Think Like A Man 2 and I wasn’t a fan at all. I’m not being negative as the movie did draw laughter from me and it was entertaining. But it was nowhere near the first movie, which had a steady storyline and premise. Kevin Hart jumping around acting like a fool can only save so many movies.

 

2)    Put It Out On Time

You may delay, but time will not.”

-Benjamin Franklin

How long does it really take to make a movie? I know of projects that have been “coming soon” with no definitive date for about ten years. Tariq Nasheed announced that he was starting production on Hidden Colors 3 back in July of 2013 and it debuted around the nation June 26, 2014. The DVD is coming out July 4th and it’s already number one on Amazon!

I understand that it takes time to make a quality product but after a year or two without an update and many of fans inquiring about when it’s being released, you have a problem. Black folks have a terrible problem with time management that we need to get under control before we can even begin to challenge the big time corporations. You can talk about movies like PreciousFor Colored Girls and The Help but at least they come out on time enough for people to see it. How is your movie going to compete when it’s coming out in 2015 and you’ve been working on it since 2007? Pushing back the release date every month isn’t cool either!

 

The cover to my novel, The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson. It’s coming out in October. Also, My novella is dropping this summer.  Make sure you look out for me! You can read a preview of The Diary Of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad now!

 

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Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Was I right or wrong on this issue? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randall.barnes.501